[Film Review] Out of Sight (1998)

Out of Sight poster

Title: Out of Sight
Year: 1998
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Frank
based on the novel of Elmore Leonard
Music: David Holmes
Cinematography: Elliot Davis
George Clooney
Jennifer Lopez
Ving Rhames
Steve Zahn
Don Cheadle
Albert Brooks
Catherine Keener
Dennis Farina
Nancy Allen
Luis Guzmán
Isaiah Washington
Viola Davis
Keith Loneker
Paul Calderon
Michael Keaton
Samuel L. Jackson
Rating: 7.1/10

Out of Sight 1998

George Clooney’s protagonist Jack Foley, is a handsome and extremely charming guy, an incurable romantic, not an advocate of violence and has the proclivity for being a modern-day knight errant, so maybe, bank-robbing is not such a fancy profession for him, but actually, he does it pretty well. In the opening scenes, it is all easy-breezy for him to talk through a young female bank clerk to give him the cash, only his exit plan hits a snag.

During his prison-break, Jack and his loyal partner Buddy (Rhames) hold hostage Karen Sisco (Lopez), a U.S. Marshal, a burgeoning romance has been kindled between Jack and Karen, when they squeeze together inside the trunk of the vehicle on the exit route, the closeness of a confined space really works as a hotbed for sexual attraction, and they are talking about movies about Faye Dunaway and Robert Redford along the way.

Karen manages to escape later, but becomes involuntarily preoccupied with him, she follows all the leads to track him down, and finally in Detroit, their simmering affections evolve into one night of passion, but Jack’s real intention is to steal some uncut diamonds from a Wall Street millionaire, Richard Ripley (Brooks), a fellow prisoner whom Jack and Buddy have met three years ago. In order to furthermore strengthen that Jack is the bad guy we are rooting for, Maurice Miller (Cheadle) is introduced, a ruthless murderer, who is also eyeing for the diamonds, with his two underlings, a cretin White Boy Bob (Loneker) and a former boxer Kenneth (Washington). The climax is a home invasion with a taut suspense and a pretty up-to-scratch happy ending.

OUT OF SIGHT is Sundance wunderkind Soderbergh’s seventh feature film and his first dalliance with mainstream production (for Universal), it becomes a critical success with 2 Oscar-nominations (for editing and screenplay), the editing job of Anne V. Coates is essential to integrate the intentionally disarranged story-line to a hipster fashion which perks up the crime cliché; Scott Frank’s adapted screenplay puts much weight on the comedic fodder out of the dangerous work from its source novel; also ornamented by a posh soundtrack and frisky cameos from Michael Keaton – who reincarnate as Ray Nicolette from Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN 1997, another Elmore Leonard’s adaptation – and Samuel L. Jackson, as the kindred spirit inmate of Jack in the code. In retrospect, it has become a breakthrough for Clooney, who radiates both civilized sophistication and childlike nonchalance, a symbol of Clooney’s own raw sex appeal in its peak, and incredibly heats up the screen with Jennifer Lopez, whose often problematic acting aptitude magically works this time. Don Cheadle gives a committed impression in the villain default, and it is always nice to see Catherine Keener and Viola Davis on the screen, but personally I find Steve Zahn’s outstanding portrayal of Glenn Michaels, Jack and Buddy’s cowardly partner-in-crime, stands out eventually, he is a sidekick who doesn’t usually deserve our compassion or even attention, but Zahn supplies him with rather empathetic efforts to cement his feelings: fumbling frustration, palpable fear and an expedient sense of desperation.

Oscar 1998  Out of Sight

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